Community holds candlelight vigil for teen battling terminal cancer

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CEDAR SPRINGS, Mich. — Brison Ricker’s loved ones want him to know that he’s not alone. Ricker’s been battling terminal brain cancer for over a year. And on Friday, 300 of his friends and family held a candlelight vigil right outside his doorstep.

“We’re hoping and praying that Brison can hear us from his bed,” said family friend Jennifer Peckover. “The amount of people that showed up shows what kind of community that they live in.”

Family, friends, and neighbors filled the family’s driveway and front yard. They stood shoulder-to-shoulder signing worship songs while holding candles. His classmates made candle displays out of paper bags and placed them throughout the neighborhood.

“We’re just so grateful,” said Peckover. “So thankful that people would even come out in the Christmastime, in the cold.”

Peckover said she began planning the vigil on Tuesday, the day the family heard from doctors that 16-year-old Brison might not make it to the end of the week. So Peckover started making phone calls.

“That evening Kim asked if we would mind, the close group of friends, putting together a candlelight vigil for them,” said Peckover. “What’s awesome about it is it’s the closest we’ve ever been to their home when we’re doing something for them.”

Typically the parents, Brian and Kim, are away at a clinic or hospital with either Brison or his brother Preston she said. He was diagnosed with cancer within 11 months of Brison. But Friday the parents were home and heard Preston and others sing for Brison.

“He is such a good kid,” said Peckover. “He is one of our, you know, best of the best.”

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